There’s a lot of different ways to direct your assets once you pass away. While these options are great in that they allow you to custom tailor your estate plan to suit your needs, the complexities of it all can feel overwhelming. Don’t let that fact drive you to inaction or procrastination when it comes to estate planning, as failing to create an estate plan could put you, your assets and your loved ones at risk.
Instead, you can focus on simplifying the process by focusing on what’s important to you. If you can do that, an estate planning attorney can take care of navigating the legal vehicles needed to reach your goals. Therefore, as you sit down to think about what you want from your estate plan, you might want to consider the following:
- Providing financial stability to your loved ones: This is a top priority for many estate planners, and you can effectively provide financial support to your loved ones through estate planning.
This may include using trusts that bypass the probate process, thereby saving your estate money and directing to which beneficiaries assets should pass. You can also use something like a spendthrift trust if you want to ensure that inherited assets are not spent too quickly, mismanaged or otherwise squandered away.
It might also include using a remainder trust to ensure that you can direct where your assets go even after the initial beneficiary has passed away.
- Motivating your loved ones: You can also use your estate’s assets to motivate your loved ones. This can be accomplished through an incentive trust, where the release of assets is conditioned upon the completion of a pre-identified event. For example, you may specify that trust assets are to be released to your grandson when he graduates from college, thereby motivating that grandchild to complete a higher education.
- Supporting charitable causes: If you want to support a charitable organization or some other nonprofit, you can make arrangements to do so in your estate plan. This can also lead to tax savings for your estate.
- Providing for your pet: If you have a beloved pet, you can even set aside money in a trust that’s earmarked to provide for them. This will ensure that whoever takes care of your pet once you’re gone isn’t left footing the bill.
- Minimizing taxes: If you have a sizeable estate, you can use your estate plan to reduce taxation, which will allow your loved ones to enjoy more of your estate. But you need a solid estate plan in place to be able to do that.
- Preparing for incapacitation: Nobody wants to think about becoming older and facing challenging health issues, but it’s a reality that befalls many of us. To protect your assets, your medical care and your interests, you’ll want to make sure that you have a sound estate plan in place that specifies what will happen if you become incapacitated and who will make important healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf.
Do you want to discuss your goals?
These are just some of the overarching goals that most people want to try to achieve in their estate plan. But think about what you want for your estate and your loved ones. Once you have an idea of your priorities, you’re ready to start the estate planning process.
But even if you need to talk about the matter a little more, you can reach out to an estate planning attorney to better gauge in which directions you can take your estate plan.